How can we stop community dividing us?

Over the past few weeks I have been having some really interesting discussions around Community, Religion, and 'what is needed' if we are to bring about real change in the world. 

There is no shortage of people out there that tell us what we have isn't working. There are many people who will tell you we need some kind of global organisation to bring people together... but... herein lies the problem. If we try to enforce another 'global' idea won't we just fall foul of creating just a new (different) version of what we already have with an alternative set of people in charge? ... A different (albeit at the start more palatable) group, suggesting yet another 'right' way.

In trying to coerce or persuade people to follow a 'path' the inevitability is that there will always be the anomalies. Those that don't want to follow (and quite rightly so). Those that have their own ideas about what they want to do, what works better for them... the thing is... there isn't just one solution, how could there be? We are all unique with different views, perceptions and experience summed up to where we are at this precise moment in time. What works for us might not necessarily work for another... and we do naturally form groups where people want the same or similar thing... but no single solution is right... This is the crux of where the problem lies.

Look how many different 'flavours' of religion or martial arts there are... each new denomination or sect believing something slightly different, and maybe because differences couldn't be reconciled a whole new 'arm' with a different 'belief' gets formed... ostensibly all very similar but with different egos (people) in charge...

The fundamental flaw in this is that each branch has a tendency to think it is 'right' and the others are somehow wrong (or less right). There is tolerance of course... but tolerance is not 'acceptance' that the others are just as 'right' ... possibly, maybe close enough to 'our right' for us to get along.

The big challenge

How can we prepare the way for a new future. How can we create an environment that works towards creating a more sustainable, fairer future. An environment that promulgates the type of thinking where we can all live in harmony with our planet (our home), where every human life, and living thing is valued and respected, where the goal is to live in peace, bring up our families, be happy and to discover and follow our passions.

What would we need to put in place to be able to start the next human evolution, to raise the levels of consciousness and start accelerating the progress towards this kind of world.

Where do you start?

It's not a case of emptying out the people in power and sticking a new gang in their place. This is so much more fundamental than this. We've grown accustomed over decades of conditioning to accept that what we have is 'society'... 'this is just the way it is'. If we are going to undo this we are going to need to have a huge rethink, change our approach, do things we haven't been doing, ask a few more questions! Possibly restore some very basic basics that have somehow disappeared.

But like a drop of water in the pool... this has to start with that single drop... that single drop is the individual.. it is you and me. Through our own growth... through our own actions... like a ripple we begin to cause change amongst our family... our friends... our communities... regionally and then nationally.

So where do we start... what can we as individuals do to prepare us to play our part? How can we ready ourselves to make our contribution in what is probably the single most important stage in human evolution thus far... Let us consider the following three items...

Moral Code - Be the best 'human being' you can be
What are the principles that you hold dear? What does it mean for you to be a great human being? Have you implemented all you can do? ... are you living by your own principles?

Self esteem - Be the best version of yourself
Do you feel like that everyone else is 'better' than you? Do you feel like you've failed or under achieved? Are you your own worst critic? A perfectionist? ... or a people pleaser? [... might like to check this post out] .. are you a little bit scared of doing new things in case it doesn't work out and you fail once more? ... dreading the words... "I told you so... you're rubbish you are... maybe you aren't cut out for this or that" ... sadly often said by us, to ourselves! Are you battling ... Anxiety, Stress... depression...

Take Responsibility - Find you own path
Do you find yourself doing things that other people want you to do? Do you appear to be following the crowd, doing what others are doing, part of the silent majority... going where there is no risk... being a bit herded? Do you ever question what you are doing and why? Do you make conscious choices or just take advice and suggestions from others? 

If you identified with some of the above then you are not alone... this has been an ongoing degenerative state for some time.. decades.

It is still not enough

Even if we were able to resolve all of our own challenges this is still unfortunately not enough. Unless we can achieve one more thing. That is to accept that "The only Right Way is that there is no Right Way." Doesn't sound so difficult? But why is this sentence of any value anyway?

Community groups start for many reasons. Sects of religions start because probably there is an irreconcilable difference of opinion over some element of belief and people decide to go their separate ways. We can't agree, so, I'll set my own thing up, that gets around the problem. This in itself however is not the issue, particularly as we ought all be allowed to choose our own paths... 

What is an issue is the desire to have 'control'... 'to be the big cheese', the one running the show. I can't run your show because it is yours... so I'll run my own. This then leads to competition, desire to win... promotion that one idea is better than another, comparison, division, focus away from the primary goal of the community in the first place. Communities can often spend more time 'selling' the community than actually delivering the services.

The acceptance that there can be many ways to tackle the problem... to accept that our way is just a way, the same as everyone else's... and that as long as everyone is heading in the same general direction it's great because more people are benefiting.

This is pretty difficult to get your head around at the start but it is a huge problem out there because we've been conditioned to believe in competition, winners and losers, being the best and worrying about what others are doing (negatively) and comparison. Actually it makes perfect sense to work with people looking to achieve similar goals as we might all end up doing far more with less effort if we pooled our minds.

Community Divides it doesn't Unite

I've seen locally in a single square mile, 4 dementia groups, competing for 'Clients' (dementia patients) and in turn a greater share of the money allocated for this sector of welfare. All of them could have been amalgamated into one single efficient service... why wasn't it? ... each wanted to be 'in charge' of their own bit?... ego was it? In fighting and competing is not doing things for the greater good... this is doing things to benefit ones self... this is where the greatest challenge comes in.

What if people serving the community agreed to a code?

What if people representing others in the community agreed to behave in a certain way. Their commitment to work on honing and developing a set of habits that lead to ego not becoming an unwelcome guest in the development of community. Where community members accepted.. the only right way is that there is no right way and agreed to adopt the following habits :-

Habit 1: Tell others what to do only if they have asked us to do so. (DON’T assume others will always want to know what we think)

Habit 2: Recognise when others say stop, and stop. (DON’T find ways to increase the pressure to make others do as we say).

Habit 3: When things are not going our way, we ask ourselves… what are we missing? (DON’T keep going ignoring what others say.)

Habit 4: We can make choices to minimise the spread of badwill to ourselves and others. (DON’T give more badwill back)

Habit 5: When things go wrong, we can make choices to nudge ourselves to a better place where we feel less of a victim. (DON’T blame others)

Habit 6: We can make choices to give goodwill to ourselves and others. (DON’T think the greater good is always more important than our own self)

(LifeSkills21 - How to socialise in the 21st century Handbook)

Final words...

In the next blog I am going to be talking about some practical steps, 7 or so things that we could consider and that might be worth thinking about. 7 things that in some shape or form we could easily adapt so they work for us.

Shall we can be the beginning of the ripples in the pond? ... how far could the ripples be felt? It starts with each of us taking the responsibility... 


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